Former Florida Gator defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III is officially a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. The 20-year-old Tampa native signed his four-year contract with the Bucs earlier this month worth $14,177,654 along with an $8,511,020 signing bonus.
What makes this new addition to the roster so special is the fact that he claims Tampa and Tampa claims him. In fact, during the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game against the New York Islanders the Lightning presented Hargreaves with a custom made jersey with his last name on the back. Also, last week Hargreaves presented a signed football to Tampa Fire Rescue at a bowling alley and then bowled with the firefighters.
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At the draft combine, he even sported airbrushed cleats with a Tampa design. Tampa is the city where he made his name as a rising star at Wharton High School. At his old stomping grounds, he is still remembered among players and coaches.
Being so close motivates the high school players who played with him, or knew of him. “Just to see somebody that came out to this practice field and did the same thing we did every day, and now he’s playing in the NFL. That’s what we all try to strive for,” said Chase Goode, a rising senior middle linebacker at Wharton.
Hargreaves signing with the Bucs is a huge homecoming for him and his family. Although not born in Tampa, he represents the city; his parents are from Connecticut, and Hargreaves himself grew up further south in Miami, and then started high school in North Carolina. When his father accepted a position in 2010 as a defensive end coach and special teams coordinator at the University of South Florida in Tampa, that was when Hargreaves found where he belonged, in Tampa. With him being a first round draft
When his father accepted a position in 2010 as a defensive end coach and special teams coordinator at the University of South Florida in Tampa, that was when Hargreaves found where he belonged, in Tampa. With him being a first round draft pick to his hometown, it essentially was a homecoming for him.
Regardless of what NFL analysts say about the Buccaneers or Hargreaves himself on his predicted season, there is one thing that is a fact, and its that Hargreaves is right back at home.